Monday, July 23, 2012

You Enjoy Myself

As well as the Grateful Dead, Stephanie is a big fan of Phish.  She wrote a stream of consciousness post for me about the song You Enjoy Myself.  This is Stephanie's "Brain on YEM."

Just listening to You Enjoy Myself - Live Phish, Volume 7, Disc 3 – trying to pick out the bass parts – I’ve tried to figure out a bunch of Phish songs on bass, but have had very limited success, even after following along with the hacked out tab available online.  YEM is one of those songs that I’d never even think of attempting since songs like Suzy Greenberg  and Sample in a Jar (the ones I can sort of pull out of my ass just by knowing the chords) are more my speed, and because my memory is shit, and all of those different parts would drive me insane.
Anyway, I was listening to YEM on my way to the Metra after work and got to thinking how cool it would be if they would issue these live discs where you could isolate an instrument to bring up in the mix so that you could have a fighting chance at figuring out how to play it.  I know it’s possible to do it with Rock Band (which I could play all the live long day), but I don’t have an xbox gold membership, and even if I did, I couldn’t play on the train, and four colored buttons does not a bass player make – not by a long shot!
Sometimes I think that if I could just sing the bass parts (which seems much easier than figuring out the notes and strings and transitions and hand positions) and get those down perfectly, that I’d be in a better position to figure out the parts on the four strings (except I don’t have a 5-string bass like Mike, so should I tune down, if so how far – c#? just the e string? does he ever play a b on the open fifth string? How important is that fifth string anyway? Could I get by without it or does that string anchor the whole operation down? I need to watch some footage of him playing…)   
Back to thoughts of singing the bass lines…but I can’t sing as low as a bass, so I’d have to bring it up an octave. And I’d have to be alone, cuz I’d sound pretty funny at first, and I’d have to have the time… the car would be a good place…but I’d need to do a lot of rewinding to get parts just right…
Then, at around 17 minutes in to the song, they kicked off this wicked cool a cappella jazz odyssey thing.  I started thinking that it would be funny if there was a contest where Phish fan groups try to pull of all vocal versions of YEM (like that one TV show). Then I started pretending that I was in on the vocal jam and was playing air vocals in my head, coming up with cool counter harmonies and rhythms to augment their dissonant poly-chords…ticka ta flicka flicka fla...Aaaaaalice…. Aaaaaalice…doe be doe doe doe – cha cha bicca chow chow –eeeech  eeech – jacko jacko jacko jacko….didit didit …do do do do do….washa fla feet-sees ohhhhh… flicka fla flicka sees… mamma see feet sees…. eeehhhhhhhh…oohhhhhh… mmmmmmmm
Then I wondered, are there any groups of fans who would be interested (and remotely capable) of even attempting this feat(sees)? Who would sponsor this contest? Who would be the judges?  Would there be prizes?  Would everyone have to do YEM, or could they pick the song (Halley’s Comet, Simple) – and then be rated based on level of difficulty?
Want to know what I do sometimes?  I pretend that there’s a ‘Guess that Phish Song’ contest where you get a half a measure in a solo that has deviated very far from home (like in Reba where you forget what song it even is for a while). I like to fancy myself an expert song picker (although I imagine a contest would probably alter this assessment) .
Another contest that I think would be fun is where you listen to a live song and have to pick the next song in the show.  I love contests!  OK, almost home….  I like this ‘My Brain On – stream of consciousness thing’ – I may do more

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